By Their Father's Hand

The True Story of the Wesson Family Massacre
Narrated by: John Glouchevitch
Length: 7 hrs and 43 mins
4.0 out of 5 stars (178 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Neighbors were unaware of what went on behind the tightly closed doors of a house in Fresno, California - the home of an imposing, 300-pound Marcus Wesson, his wife, children, nieces, and grandchildren. But on March 12, 2004, gunshots were heard inside the Wesson home, and police officers responding to what they believed was a routine domestic disturbance were horrified by the senseless carnage they discovered when they entered. By Their Father's Hand is a chilling true story of incest, abuse, madness, and murder, and one family's terrible and ultimately fatal ordeal at the hands of a powerful, manipulative man - a cultist who envisioned vengeful gods and vampires, and totally controlled those closest to him before their world came to a brutal and bloody halt.

©2007 Monte Francis (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Well written . . . heartbreaking . . . the story by itself is amazing." ( True Crime Book Reviews)

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Be Very Prepared for Disturbing and Graphic Detail

Would you consider the audio edition of By Their Father's Hand to be better than the print version?

I haven't read this in print, but given the extremely graphic and disturbing details of the Wesson family murder case and the fact that print editions of true crime books usually include photos, the lack of photos in this audiobook is but only one of the blessings of not having read the print version.

Who was your favorite character and why?

True crime books don't have "characters" since they are about real life. That being said, I really admire the tremendous courage and determination of Ruby and especially Sophina, for getting out of the horrible life that they had been forced to live for so long. These women fought against the terrible oppression and horrors to escape and to get their babies into better lives. I couldn't imagine not only having my surviving family think I'm at fault for the gruesome deaths of my loved ones, but also be willing to forgive them for supporting the monster who was responsible for those deaths and so much more besides. Then, to not even hate Marcus Wesson for EVERYTHING he subjected myself and my family to?! Wow. Both women's abilities to fight for justice are truly amazing.

Have you listened to any of John Glouchevitch’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have not listened to John Glouchevitch's narration before, but I liked his narration and would listen to more books narrated by him.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

How does listening to the details of the horrific executions of seven little children under 8 years old and the grief experienced by those there when it was happening not move somebody? The book's epilogue in particular was truly heartbreaking. None more so than the last few lines of the epilogue, and thus, of the book itself:

"Instinctually, Sophina picked up her daughter and made the unspoken promise mothers are known to make: 'I will never let you go. Everything's going to be all right.' Life had already taught Sophina it was a promise mothers meant, but could not always keep."

Any additional comments?

Monte Francis did an excellent job researching and writing the details of the case. However, the abundance of those precise details cause the story to drag at times. Also note the parts of the book are not in sequence. It begins with the day of the murders, and then goes back to the family's beginnings up through the day of the massacre in the middle. Then it's back to Wesson's arrest and trial. If you are not paying attention, this'll be hard to follow at certain points. It also goes into extremely graphic detail about the lives (and deaths) of the members of Marcus Wesson's family. Much of which was sickening, almost too unbearable in its depravity to listen to. It is a very difficult book to get through emotionally. As such, I am only able to listen to it once and will not be keeping the book for a repeat listen. Once is enough. I recommend it for anyone who has a very strong interest in true crime books, because this story is not for casual readers or the faint of heart, folks.

10 people found this helpful

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An overwhelming urge to strangle this man!!

I had heard nothing of these murders until I stumbled across this book. As it states in the beginning, it must have been somewhat "glossed over" as a result of Scott Peterson's case, but should have gotten much more media coverage. What a sick, deranged and manipulative individual. Each of these stories that I read involving molestation, brainwashing, manipulation, justification..... it just gets harder & harder to understand the illness in some people. I like to believe that people are GOOD, but more & more, I'm proven wrong every doggone day.
A good read. The author did a good job or telling the story without being too graphic or gross. The story behind it is graphic enough - I didn't need any more detail than what was given. Narrator did a good job to keep me interested in the story. Recommended listen.

9 people found this helpful

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Wow

It's s amazing how this man controlled this family. Very well told story. I recommend.

3 people found this helpful

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Never felt the urge to kill before...this.

As a simple mortal, I do not possess adequate verbiage to describe the contents of this book. The author was neither judgmental nor overly gross. It is a gross subject in and of itself, but I can SO relate to this type of brainwashing. It didn't happen to me, but I saw it happen in my own family...not the incest nor the sexual issues, but the brainwashing, yes. Do give it a listen, and believe it, it does happen.

It was WELL worth the time and money.

6 people found this helpful

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Deeply upsetting

I tend to listen to audiobooks or podcasts on true crime while I’m doing house work, and picked this one a bit haphazardly as i had a big project to get done and needed something to listen to. This was one of the most intense cases I’ve come across in a while. By the time we reached the end of the trial I was completely flabbergasted, largely at how the girls who survived could sit there and blame the other women for the murders of all these children, while tacitly acknowledging that their father may have actually DONE(or ordered) the killing, but it wasn’t his fault. By the young man who pretty much said maybe his dad did put babies inside his babies, then killed all those babies. But it couldn’t be proven, therefore he wouldn’t believe it because he loved his dad, while I’m sitting there gaping at how dismissive this was of not only the experiences of his siblings, but also of their murder. At the son (I can’t recall if it was the same son) who hashed his way through a statement over how he’d carry on his fathers name and teachings, but legally, mixed in with near incomprehensible assertions that he will be good and how he’s hot headed. Seeing the way their minds were so completely warped by this man, seeing how they couldn’t understand that their father/uncle having sexual contact with them since they were eight was rape, seeing that they couldn’t assign the blame of death anywhere but on the surviving victims... it’s just heartbreaking. I can’t imagine how they will ever be able to be free of him, even with him in prison and on death row, he’s destroyed their personalities.

2 people found this helpful

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Wish it was written by a family member

Would have gave 5 stars but it seem to jump from part to part without explanation of I should say if it was written by a family member who was actually there would have been better but a sad story my mouth was open as I read along in awww

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Immersing...depressing

Oh. My. A very chilling account of the Wesson murders. I thought, how could a book about a family shot in one day be interesting. How could it keep me hooked. But this story is so much deeper than that one afternoon. Beautifully written and disheartening. My heart hands heavy for this family

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well first the narrator was annoying... pause

he seemed to want to pause,... between every sentence... pause. Then the whole explaining of the whole family is absolutely confusing. these people are so screwed up and I still think they all knew something in the end.
one of the hardest books I have listened to in a long time.

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disturbing realization of twisted people among us

it could have been great but the narration was missing something....maybe soul or emotion.

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Diluted, horrible man.

Wanted to put it down but I had to find out why he did these terrible things to his family. But this sadistic, insane man never explains why. Just goes around the truth with nonsense.

1 person found this helpful